The supplement business is a $123 billion dollar global industry that is expected to reach $231 billion by 2027. Amazon sells 77% of the supplements sold online, more than the top five specialty retailers combined. There’s just one problem – many of the supplements sold on Amazon are sold by third-party sellers and it’s not always easy to tell which ones are verified by independent sources as being labeled correctly and of high quality.
20% of liver injuries are attributed to herbal and dietary supplements, and even under the best of circumstances things can be labeled correctly and still cause harm. In 2018 there were over 5000 incidents of poison control being called due to vitamins and supplements. Getting supplements that are correctly labeled is crucial, as suspected vitamin overdoses have increased 35% since 1999. What’s more, nearly a third of people who take both supplements and a prescription medication are at risk for an adverse drug reaction.
Mislabeled supplements can include higher doses of the active ingredient or none at all or even unlisted ingredients that could be problematic. While vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the FDA outside of approving ingredients and colors, there are regulations in place that require truthful statements to be on the label, including a statement that the product has not been tested or affirmed by the FDA to work as intended.
Third parties on Amazon are supposed to ensure the products they sell are of high quality, but it’s far too easy to skirt those regulations. So it’s up to consumers to do their homework about any supplements they put into their bodies.
Look for third party testing and only buy from reputable retailers, including Amazon third party sellers who specialize in vitamins and supplements. Watch out for fake reviews or product guarantees – those are red flags.
Learn more about the prevalence of fake or dangerous supplements and how to avoid them below.